Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sotheby’s auction sales for 2012 fall by 10 percent

Sotheby’s, according to news reports, has registered a 10 percent fall in auction sales to 4.5b dollars from 5b dollars. Owing to an apparent decline in single-owner, high-value collections on offer for sale– not something, which can always be steadfastly relied upon. Here are the highlights of its results for the full year ’12:
  • Sotheby's reported total revenues of $768.5m, a $63.3 million (8%) decline from the prior year, largely attributable to a 11% drop in auction commission revenues resulting from a 10% reduction in net auction sales. The decline in auction commission revenues is partially offset by a 10% improvement in private sale commission revenues and a 47% increase in finance revenues. The auction house reported net income of $108.3 million in 2012, a 37% decrease from 2011.
  • Private sales, an increasingly important part of Sotheby's business, totaled a record $906.5 million, an 11% increase. And as of the end of 2012, the Company's finance segment loan portfolio balance was $425.1 million, almost double the prior year balance of $223.0 million, and near peak levels.
  • Chairman, President and CEO Bill Ruprecht said. "Consolidated sales in 2012 were a robust $5.4 billion as healthy bidding continued around the world for great works of art. Our operating results reflect some significant successes, a stiff comparison to one of the best years in Sotheby's history a year ago, and a very competitive climate for high-end consignments. Overall, I remain confident in the marketplace. Sotheby's ended the year with a very strong balance sheet. 2012 was a year of meaningful progress in the development of our client-focused strategy.”
The two major auction rooms, for once, present differing impressions. Christie’s earlier announced a 10 percent rise in sales for the year 2012. Both houses though, increased the overall value of their private, as against to auction, sales: the former to 907m dollars (a rise by 11 percent) and Christie’s to 1b dollars (a rise by 26 percent). Sotheby’s have also announced to follow Christie’s in terms of pushing up charges to buyers, if anything by slightly more.

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